The Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 tablet was announced at the start of the summer, as a new 10 inch dual core slate with Intel CPU inside. The product goes for $399 and it should be available in most regions right now. There are 3 Galaxy Tab 3 slates right now: a 7 incher, 8 incher and a 10.1 incher, with the latter being reviewed below.
The design is all glossy plastic and the device measures 8 mm in thickness and weighs 510 grams, which is very light for a 10 inch tablet. At the back we’ve got a camera, dotted texture like the Galaxy S4, while at the top there’s the On/Off button, volume buttons, microSD card slot, SIM card slot and infrared emitter.
On the sides there are the speakers and audio jack, while at the bottom we’ve got a microUSB port. Upfront there’s a camera, the Home button and capacitive buttons, plus ambient light sensor. The slate comes with rounded corners and it’s available in brown or white. It’s thinner than the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 and features a hyperglaze finish. We’ve got a microphone at the bottom, a slippery case and a big bezel at the top and bottom, which is not exactly easy on the eyes.
Overall, I would say this is not my favourite tablet design. Moving on the hardware, we’ve got a 10.1 inch TFT LCD screen with a 1280 x 800 pixel resolution and the CPU is an Intel Atom Z2560 dual core 1.6 GHz unit. We’ve also got a PowerVR SGX 544MP2 GPU, 1 GB of RAM and a 3.15 MP camera at the back with wide angle lens.
The tablet features 16 or 32 GB of storage, WiFi dual band connectivity, GPS, Glonass, a microSIM card slot and LTE. There are stereo speakers integrated here, with Dolby tech, a microsD card slot with support for up to 64 GB, HSDPA 42 Mbps connectivity and Bluetooth 4.0. Other features include infrared connectivity, microUSB 2.0 with USB host, a front 1.3 MP shooter, an accelerometer and compass.
The battery is a 6800 mAh unit, a Li-Polymer battery, which is lower than the capacity of the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 – 7000 mAh. This battery will play back a Full HD video with 50% brightness and WiFi on and lose 15% of the battery life for that. This battery can offer about 6 hours and a half of video playback and about a week of standby functioning. We’ve also got power saving and overall, you can even reach two days of use, with moderate usage.
Also, you should know that the battery indicator tends to have problems and sometimes it may feel that the tablet’s battery charges in 5-6 hours, or maybe it was just my unit with the flaw. On the audio side we’ve got good bass, clear voice and no distorsion, plus there’s a bunch of settings to tweak the acoustics, like on the Galaxy S4. There’s an EQ available, a SoundAlive option, Adapt Sound to customize the headphone experience, the option to tweak the play speed and Smart Volume.
The speakers are very loud, very close to the hugely loud Nexus 10, which is a compliment. As far as the screen is concerned, we used the standard video player with its laggy Pop Up PLay, 3 crop modes and settings. There’s a Dolby option here and support for Xvid, Divx, MP4 and MKV. You can easily play Full HD files with AC3 audio.
The screen is a 10.1 inch 120 x 800 pixel unit, a TFT LCD that’s a bit disappointing actually. It suffers from glare, but at least you can get rid of the oversaturation by using the Screen Mode in the Settings area dubbed Movie Mode. We’ve also got a Smart Screen feature, the option to increase legibility and the view angles of the slate are quite OK. The display has a 16:10 aspect ratio and blacks aren’t very dark. Whites are pretty bright and we reached 360-400 lux units on the slate, but it wasn’t an uniform experience.
The camera at the back lacks touch focus, but at least we get panorama, effects, exposure settings, white balance and 720p video capture. It’s your average tablet camera, pretty much the same as previous Galaxy Tab cams. You can tweak image quality and do some decent outdoor shots, plus shoot video that results in MP4 files with 12 Mbps bitrate and stereo audio 128 Kbps. The autofocus is continuous and you will probably not want to use a 10 inch tablet for your picture taking.
We also showed you the input methods, that include handwriting, a few keyboard setups and voice input. We tested the temperature as well, with a max of 43.2 degrees Celsius after a half an hour of gaming, which is kind of high. Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean and as far as benchmarks go, the first tablet that came to mind was ASUS MeMo Pad FHD 10, when it comes to comparing this model. In Quadrant the 10 inch Tab 3 scores 4763 points, in AnTuTu 20k points, in NenaMark 2 60 FPS and in Vellamo 1719 points, plus 6101 points in 3DMark and 2463 points in BrowserMark 2.0. We beat the ASUS MeMo Pad FHD 10 in AnTuTu, NeNaMark 2, 3DMarK, while the rest of benchmarks had us beaten by the ASUS model.
By the way, one of the reasons why I compared the MeMo Pad FHD 10 to the Tab 3 10.1 is the fact that both have Intel dual core CPUs. Speaking of performance, this game tends to lag a bit in Dungeon Hunter 4, as shown by the review that our sister site Androidpipe.com did. The tablet features a phone calling feature and it actually provides good call quality and nice signal.
You can keep the Home button pressed in order to trigger the multitasking area and close all the apps that are running or tweak the RAM usage. If you double tap the Home button, you will trigger the S Voice function and if you press the Menu button, you will activate Google Now, that actually works better than S Voice. At the end of the review we had a look at all the preinstalled apps, many of them feeling like total bloatware.
We’ve got the usual Flipboard and Dropbox that are actually useful, but the likes of Game Hub, Music Hub or Learning Hub are useless, especially in my region, where they don’t even work. We’ve also got Group Play, that allows you to connect to other Samsung devices and share content. Other bundled apps include Paper Artist, Polaris Office and Readers Hub, that includes both a book shop and an e-reader. We’ve got S Planner included here and a Samsung app store called Samsung Apps, that also feels useless, because the apps and games are not that appealing.
We’ve got a Smart Remote app from Peel, the same one used on the Xperia Tablet S. It can be used to control a Samsung TV, Blu ray player or set top box, for example. Finally, we also get a Story Album app to create a vacation collage for example and the very last service I’m going to mention is Video Hub, that won’t work in my area.
So, since the review has come to a close, let’s see what the Pros and Cons of the device are. Here are the Pros:
very good audio
phone calling ability
TV remote feature
And the Cons:
laggy in games like Dungeon Hunter 4
no camera flash
no touch focus in camera UI
battery indicator issues
presence of Home button feels antiquated
only 1 GB of RAM
We give this device a 7 out of 10 for design, an 8 for hardware and an 8 for OS and UI, for a final grade of 7.66 out of 10 and sadly I can’t recommend that you buy this slate, because the ASUS MeMo Pad FHD 10 is a much better alternative, with the same CPU and lag-free.